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J Trop Pediatr. 2012 Dec;58(6):486-90. doi: 10.1093/tropej/fms029. Epub 2012 Jul 12.

Online Neonatal Training and Orientation Programme in India (ONTOP-IN)--the way forward for distance education in developing countries.

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Department of Pediatrics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.



Internet-based distance learning combined with local hands-on skill enhancement can provide high-quality standardized education to in-service healthcare professionals in a wide geographical area.


Primary objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of internet-based distance learning in conjunction with local hands-on skill enhancement in improving knowledge and skills of essential newborn care among in-service nursing health professionals.


A total of 98 participants from seven health facilities in India and Maldives were enrolled in the study. Delivery of course material staggered over 5 weeks in the form of two lessons every week was moderated by two to three online tutors at each site. Participants managed actual case scenarios, participated in discussion forums and synchronous chat sessions within a closed group. Skill learning was administered by local tutor at the partnering health facilities. Knowledge and skill enhancement were evaluated by administering online multiple-choice questions (MCQs) test and on-site objective structured clinical evaluation (OSCE) stations before and after completion of the course. Participants' satisfaction was evaluated on a five-point Likert scale.


Among 98 participants enrolled in the study, 78 (79%) completed the post-test assessment. There was significant increase in knowledge and skills scores (MCQ test: mean difference: 6.4 (95% CI: 5.6-7.17), OSCE: mean difference: 15.4 (95% CI: 12.7-18.1). All the participants expressed satisfaction with content and delivery of the learning module.


To conclude, online training and teaching in essential newborn care is feasible and acceptable for in-service nursing professionals and serves as a useful tool for professional development of their practical skills and knowledge.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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